Ariana Grande’s ethnicity is difficult to pinpoint, and her racially ambiguous look left many of her fans wondering if she’s actually Latina.
Ariana Grande isn’t Latina. The Grammy-winning singer was born in the US to parents of Italian descent and identifies as an Italian American.
Stick around to learn more about Grande’s family ties, and why so many people think she’s Latina.
Grande’s Family Ties
Ariana Grande’s parents hail from Italy, and there’s no evidence that the former Nickelodeon star has Hispanic roots. In a tweet from 2011, she referred to herself as “Italian American, half Sicilian and half Abruzzese”.
The singer’s mother, Joan Grande, was the CEO of a telephone and alarms company Hose-McCann Communications. Grande’s father, Edward Butera, started his own graphic design firm in Florida after their family moved there in 1993, shortly before Ariana was born.
The singer’s parents divorced in 2002, and she had a strained relationship with her father ever since. They even stopped talking for years after having a “falling out” in 2013, but eventually managed to mend their broken relationship.
Her full name is Ariana Grande-Butera, and it’s highly unlikely she’ll change it after getting married one day. The Victorious actress said she wants to keep the last name Grande because of her grandpa and explained her decision saying, “I think of him with everything I do in it and he was so proud of our name.”
Ariana Grande spent her whole life thinking she’s Italian but learned more about her heritage in 2014. She tweeted that her grandparents “are heavily Greek and part North African” and joked that her “whole life is a lie”.
Part of the reason why many people think that Ariana Grande might be Latina is her racially ambiguous look. The “Thank U, Next” singer has been repeatedly accused of “blackfishing” due to extensive tanning and use of “blaccent” in her interviews.
Accusations of cultural appropriation have followed Grande for years. She got her big break with the role of Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon series Victorious, and people noticed that her look and skin tone drastically changed as the years went by.
The situation escalated after Grande dropped her smash hit “7 Rings”, as several rappers, including Princess Nokia, Soulja Boy, and 2 Chainz, accused her of ripping them off. Numerous high-profile publications, such as The Atlantic and Slate, published think pieces explaining how Grande appropriated different cultures throughout her career.
The singer also came under fire for getting a tattoo that was supposed to read “7 Rings” in Japanese. Her ink was misspelled and read “barbecue grill” instead, but she tried to fix it and failed to get the spelling right once again.
Grande defended herself saying “there is a difference between appropriation and appreciation” but went on to receive more backlashes for her Vogue cover in 2019. Many people felt that her tan was much darker than her actual skin tone, and even her ex Pete Davidson called her out for “spray-painting herself brown”.
Latina Nickelodeon Stars
Despite her ethnically ambiguous look that left many people wondering if she’s Latina, Ariana Grande doesn’t have Hispanic roots – but several of her former Nickelodeon co-stars do.
Victoria Justice, who starred alongside Grande on Victorious, is of Puerto Rican ancestry. It’s been rumored that they didn’t stay on good terms, and Justice wasn’t invited to make a cameo in Grande’s “Thank U, Next” video, unlike several other Victorious actors.
Grande stayed on much better terms with Daniella Monet, who revealed she’s part Chilean. They still text and call each other on a regular basis, and Monet said that Grande “cried her eyes out” after she informed her of her pregnancy. In addition to working with several famous Latinas, the Grammy-winning artist dated Mexican-American dancer Ricky Alvarez. They were together for about a year and stayed on good terms after their breakup in 2016.